Vehicle Hazards: During the cooler time of the year, outdoor cats like to find warm places to sleep at night. Up inside your car’s engine is a favorite place for them to go. Then when you unknowingly go to start your vehicle in the morning, the cat can get caught in the fan belt causing severe injury and sometimes death.
So, if there are a lot of outdoor cats in your neighborhood, be sure to bang around the engine area of your vehicle making as much noise as you can to scare any cats that may be up inside your vehicle out and away from the vehicle.
Holiday Hazards: Holiday time is a very stressful time for us as well as our pets. People come to visit which increases the number of bodies in the house, the upset of normal routines and the coming and going of people in and out of the doors more often. The impact this has on our pets can be great. It can result in excessive nervousness, vomiting, diarrhea and even pets escaping from the yard or house and getting lost or even worse, hit by a car. The good news is there are now natural calming treats that can be given and have proven to be very effective. Ask our staff and they will be happy to tell you about those products.
Chocolate toxicity: Only 2 oz. of milk chocolate per 2.5 lbs of body weight and 0.20 oz. of unsweetened baking chocolate per 2.5 lbs. of body weight can be lethal. Also white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips and dry cocoa powder can cause problems as well.
Tinsel and Ribbon: Can cause obstructions in the intestinal tract of our pets, resulting in surgery or possibly death, especially in cats.
Plants given during the holidays as gifts can be toxic, some cause more severe illness than others. Certain species of lilies can cause renal failure in cats. Most plants, including poinsettias, more often will cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Christmas tree water: Fertilizers and stagnant water can lead to stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea.
Electrical Cords: Chewing of cords by your pet can result in electrocution and possible death.
Batteries: Can cause ulceration of mouth, tongue, and the rest of the intestinal tract.
Glass Ornaments: Can cause severe cuts to the mouth, tongue and intestinal tract, possibly puncturing the intestinal tract and causing death.
Parvo virus in Dogs: We are the hot-spot in the nation for parvo, the Phoenix area has two stains of parvovirus. We have the perfect environment and weather for this disease to flourish.
We see an upsurge in the number of cases when the weather is changing. If you have an unvaccinated dog or puppy or a puppy under 20 weeks of age still receiving vaccines, it is best to avoid public places that people frequent with dogs such as dog parks, regular parks, pet stores, and dog shows or events. Even going for a walk around your own block can be hazardous. It only takes a microscopic amount of virus to infect your dog or puppy so be very careful and make sure your pet gets its full series of vaccines to help protect it from this deadly disease.
Symptoms of parvovirus are a decrease or lack of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea. And remember the age and size of the pet makes no difference in ability to survive the disease. Survivability depends on the immune status of the pet at the time of infection and staying on top of the treatment of the clinical symptoms associated with the disease.
Antifreeze: It tastes good so they like to drink it and very small amounts can be lethal. One teaspoon in a cat and four teaspoons in a 10 lb. dog are lethal doses. There are certain brands of antifreeze that contain propylene glycol which are much safer forms.
Heat/Heat Stroke: Here in Arizona it gets extremely hot during our summer months. Not only can our pets suffer from heat stroke we must also be cognizant of how hot the pavement,dirt and rocks are when our pets are outdoors.
Heat stroke occurs when a pet’s body temperature starts rising above normal and they have no ability to cool themselves. In old, very young, short-nose breeds such as bulldogs and sick pets, heat stroke can occur even though fresh water and shade are provided on hot days. These pets cannot tolerate the heat that a healthy adult dog or cat is capable of tolerating, so these pets should never be left outside for more than 5 to 10 minutes during the hot part of the day. Even an old dog who has lived outside his entire life is at greater risk because of his age.
Symptoms of heat stroke are excessive panting, hypersalivation, lethargy or collapse, muscle tremors, incoordination, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of consciousness, and seizures.
Also remember that walking your pet outside on hot surfaces can result in severe burns to their pads that can result in severe lameness and loss of pad tissue that can lead to infections.
Summer Parties: You may think parties are just as fun for your pet as they are for you, but they mean a change in the normal routine for your pet and possibly a change in different ages of people your pet is not accustom to, resulting in a great deal of stress and anxiety for your pet. This can result in stress diarrhea that can be full of mucus and even blood, vomiting and heat prostration.
As well as the physical and psychological stress, we all know how much people like to give pets treats in the form of table food. If there are kids at the party you can also count on food being dropped where your pet can get to and eat it. A lot of foods served at parties tend to be rich and high in fat, or greasy. This type of food can cause vomiting and diarrhea, which can potentially lead to severe pancreatitis, a life-threatening disease that can be fatal in even a normal dog.
After the party and after grilling be sure to close your grill and do not leave grease byproducts where your pet can have access. It’s hard for any dog to resist grease-covered grills, which can lead to severe burns of the feet and mouth. They do not know that coals when covered with grease can potentially be extremely hot and will promptly eat the hot coal causing severe burns from the mouth all the way to the stomach.
Thunderstorms and Fireworks: Both produce very loud noises that can really frighten our pets. If outdoors, pets can escape from their yard and run to get away from the noise. Because they are so frightened, they do not realize where they are going and soon become lost and disoriented or, worse yet, they can get hit by a car. Some dogs have been known to tear through screen doors and jump through plate glass windows incurring serious injuries. Outside dogs can tear through fences and gates because they are so afraid.
During these events, make sure your pets are in a secure, quiet area until it’s over. If you know your pet has these phobias, talk to your vet about special natural calming products available to help relieve stress and anxiety. There are special coats called “Thunder Jacket” that are excellent in helping relieve stress and anxiety. If those fail, there are medications that can be prescribed by a veterinarian.
Critter Dangers: Warmer weather brings more activity on our part as well as the part of some poisonous creatures we have in Arizona. Black widow spiders, scorpions, snakes, and toads all posses the possibility of causing serious illness or death in our pets. Cats are particularly sensitive to the bite of a black widow spider.
Black Widow Spider: The spider releases a neurotoxin when it bites. It typically produces what’s called a target lesion, which is a dark to purple discoloration immediately around the bite wound, a pale ring of dead tissue around the purple tissue and a dark red coloration around the ring. Systemic signs, particularly in cats, are excessive salivation, restlessness, severe pain, paralysis and possible death. There is an antivenom available but it is usually found only at emergency clinics.
Scorpions: These creatures have a toxin that contains digestive enzymes as well as a neurotoxin. Symptoms of envenomation are nervousness, localized pain, excessive salivation, behavior abnormalities, rigid spasms, difficulty swallowing, hair standing up, high blood pressure and possibly death. There is an antivenom available for the bites of specific types of scorpions. So if you think your pet was stung by a scorpion have it checked immediately.
Snakes: Here in Arizona the rattlesnake is the most common snake encountered by our pets. However there are also copperheads, cottonmouth and coral snakes. Copperheads and cottonmouth snakes are in the same family as the rattlesnake.
Rattlesnake bites are rarely dry bites, and symptoms can be mild to life-threatening depending on where the animal gets bit, the species of snake, and how much venom the snake has at the time of the bite. Externally you can see swelling around the bite area, lethargy, muscle twitches and a wound that won’t stop bleeding. Internally there can be cell damage, which leads to collapse and shock, bleeding internally and cardiovascular collapse. Antivenom is usually available at emergency clinics but, before you reach a clinic, make sure the dog does as little movement as possible and, if possible, keep the bite wound at the same level as the dogs heart. DO NOT apply ice, tourniquets or administer any kind of medications.
Toads: The most common toad to cause toxic symptoms in our pets is the Colorado River toad. They are found most frequently after it rains. Our pets are attracted by their movement and try to catch them. The toxin is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth. So if you suspect your pet came in contact with a toad, immediately flush out its mouth with slow flowing copious amounts of water then rush it to a veterinarian.
Symptoms that occur are excessive salivation, head shaking, pawing at the mouth, retching or vomiting, disorientation, weakness, collapse, and seizures. The toxin contains an epinephrine-like component as well as one that is cardiotoxic. Prognosis is very guarded with some pets surviving with immediate treatment and others dying from the toxic exposure in spite of immediate treatment.